The Jackbox Party Pack 5 (Switch) Review
Over the last few years, the crew over at Jackbox have been providing some of the most consistently entertaining party games around. While not every game has been a winner, each pack has generally had at least three out of five guaranteed to produce a ton of laughter and good times.
Jackbox Party Pack 5 brings another five games to the party. For those unaware, Jackbox games are controlled completely via the web browser on your smartphone. Simply pop in the unique room code on the Jackbox website and you’re ready to go. Games in previous packs have ranged from masterpieces to total duds, and this one is no different.
Given that these games stand on their own as complete experiences, it feels most appropriate to review them individually. Without further ado, let’s introduce this year’s five new entrants:
You Don’t Know Jack
The only not quite “new” member of the bunch, the classic You Don’t Know Jack trivia game is back, bringing with it a new range of utterly bizarre ways to test your knowledge on everything from typical general knowledge to some downright outlandish topics that may raise some eyebrows amongst your friends if you happen to actually know the answer.
Series regular Cookie Masterson returns to host with his usual blend of offbeat humour and overenthusiasm, and he perfectly sets the tone for the wacky questions on offer. For example, a question asking how fast the earth rotates is posed as a question where the chairs on The Voice malfunction causing the judges to go spinning off at potentially lethal speeds.
Throw in the ability to “screw” over an opponent making it harder for them to select their answer (by random acts such as making them scroll through overly long terms and conditions), and a variety of question formats that spice up the formula, it creates a package with enough laughs here to liven up the typical quiz format. It may not be the best game in the bunch, but it’s a reliable old faithful that’s worth wheeling out from time to time.
Split the Room
Here’s one that certainly lives up to the name. Set in a Twilight Zone seemingly run by cats, you’re posed a number of hypothetical scenarios where you need to fill in the blank to create a potential situation on which your friends will need to vote yes or no. The more difficult a decision you create the better, as you get points based on how well you split the room.
Would you use a device that instantly teleports your furniture to your new house but leaves them smelling ever so slightly like milk that’s just a little bit off? Would you punch your boss if the giant scoreboard told you it would give you a $1,000 to do so? Coming up with divisive questions is great fun, and might reveal a bit about your friends along the way.
Responses to this one varied greatly depending on the group I was playing with. On my first play session this was met with belly-aching laughs and absurd responses, but on another occasion, it landed with a thud. The quality of the scenarios offered is a little hit or miss, but it’ll also depend on the sense of humour of those you’re with. Nonetheless, it’s an intriguing concept that’s more than worth a few playthroughs.
Mad Verse City
Futuristic robots meet a rap battle on the streets in Mad Verse City, a hilarious game that challenges your lyrical and rhyming prowess. The simple premise asks you to provide a word, such as a positive verb, before giving you a line with that word on the end and then challenging you to make the next line. Repeat once more and you’ve crafted your masterpiece, and it’s time to take to the streets to listen to your robot battle a friend for hip-hop supremacy.
It’s a simple premise but the short time on the clock forces you to get creative quickly, leading to some incredibly entertaining outcomes. Having a variety of robots actually read your lyrics out loud makes this game something special. There’s not much to it, but with a big group of friends, you’re guaranteed to laugh.
One thing to note is that I was originally unable to play this game without it crashing my Switch every single time within a couple of minutes. Deleting the game from my SD card and reinstalling on the Switch itself fixed the issue, but it’s something to keep in mind if you pick the game up and encounter the same problem.
Jackbox games have always taken a simple response based approach where you only need to type, tap an option or draw. Zeeple Dome brings something new to the mix with an action game fusing a space shooter with Angry Birds flinging mechanics.
It’s not very good.
It’s clear that some inspiration has been taken from the more interactive PlayLink titles found on PS4. Where those games had a download specific app you to allow more functionality, here you’re still limited to the web browser interface the action is simply too unresponsive to be any fun to play.
There are multiple levels to play through as you and your pals fling your little alien into other evil aliens, but it’s unlikely you’ll find the motivation to see beyond the first couple of stages. The game is repetitive and the core mechanic simply isn’t enjoyable. This is easily the weakest game in the pack, and one of my least favourite games across the entire Jackbox library.
From one of the worst games in Jackbox history to one of the best, this is undoubtedly the highlight of Jackbox Party Pack 5. Combining drawing, creativity and your presentation skills, Patently Stupid sees you taking a problem conjured by another player and coming up with your own creative and usually completely ridiculous solution to their problem.
After crudely doodling your idea on a napkin, you’ll come up with a product name and a tagline before being given 90 seconds to bring out your inner Tim Cook and present your insane invention to the room. You control the timing of which elements you want to pop up on the screen and when, and you’re encouraged to embrace the power. You’ll have money to invest in other player’s inventions, and the winner is the player who can get the most funding and back other successful projects.
This game produced more tears of laughter than any game I’ve played in recent memory. The setups give enough creative liberty to come up with something truly outrageous and having to stand up and explain, sell or even simply justify your creation is multiplayer entertainment at its finest. With the right group of people, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable multiplayer experience this year.
Jackbox Party Pack 5 is another solid entry in the series. Zeeple Dome is an unfortunate experiment that doesn’t quite work, but the strength of the rest of the set more than makes up for it. Patently Stupid alone is worth the price of admission, but you’ll find plenty more to love in this pack that will have you bringing this one out with friends for months to come. With clever ideas, top-notch presentation and plenty of laughs, it’s an easy crowd pleaser to recommend. Don’t miss this one.
- Patently Stupid is fantastic
- Three of the other 4 are great
- Zeeble Dome isn’t good
- Crashing issues